Saturday, May 28, 2016

A visit to Meijer Gardens ~ 5/27/16

Being a member, I come here often and sometimes just for a place to walk. This spring has been particularly beautiful with the cherry blossoms blooming in the Japanese Garden. The cherry blossoms are now finished but there's always something else making an appearance. This afternoon I carried an umbrella as I was greeted by this sky.
But the gray clouds moved along and before I left the sun returned to really steam things up. First thing out of the building I was greeted by this row of rhododendrons, and how splendid they are.
The trees in the Japanese Garden have greened up and everywhere you look the view is spectacular,
 and reflections mirror the beauty of nature including the passing, gray skies.
Check out these two photos from 3/25/16:
And two from 4/29:
 Today rhododendrons and azaleas are starring.
Vivid color is everywhere.
How could anyone resist walking down this inviting path?
The earlier rain had driven most people away so I was lucky enough to enjoy these moments in solitude.
Iris are also taking their turn throughout the gardens.
You'll see a variety of different things in bloom each time you visit,
but the Iron Tree and American Horse will always be there for you.

  12 seconds of this cool water feature

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Blessing of the Horses, Roanoke Ranch in Lowell MI ~ 5/22/16

It was a beautiful day and having heard about Roanoke Ranch, we decided to visit on the Blessing of the Horses Day.
We had about 30 minutes to walk around the ranch before the horses would be back from their trail ride so we walked around the ranch to see what we could see. And it's a lovely place. Besides the horses, there are steer, sheep, ponies, and chickens. Lots going on.
It was getting close to 2pm so we headed back down to greet the horses who were coming back from the trail.
They held up at their stopping point and the ranch's awesome Board President, Mike Vanderploeg, said a few words. We then listened to the Star Spangled Banner beautifully sung acapella by Sophie Bolen,* had the blessing performed by Pastor Brady Nemmers from Keystone Community, and heard a few words from the owner of the ranch, Aaron Decker. (*Sophie Bolen starred in the 2016 movie "Rodeo Girl," much of which was filmed here at the ranch.)
There were all kinds of other things provided for kids and their families: bouncy house, games, and later horse riding. Food was also available.
But it's mostly about the horses and the relationships that develop at this ranch between horses and people (and there's always time to take a phone call).
The setting is gorgeous and it feels like a very welcoming place.
Check this place out sometime if you get a chance.

Three times the charm with the lasso :-) 

17 seconds of horse cuteness